Sunday, May 15, 2016

A Mid-May Sunday Salon


The middle of May. Already? I suppose a week on the road, followed by a week of regrouping at home after a winter away has altered my sense of time. I understand how it happened, but it's still shocking. Also shocking is the fact that I just finished my first book of the month... a book started in April, no less.

The transition back to lake life was unexpectedly bumpy. I missed the sun, the beach, and bright colors. I was cold all the time and a little down, too. By Friday, I finally seemed to have readjusted. Warming temperatures, budding tress, blooming flowers, and a glass of wine by the lake helped!

Finished this week//


Circling the Sun by Paula MaLain
Much more enjoyable than expected. I ended up borrowing a print copy from the library to make it a read/listen combination, but the audio is especially wonderful. My book club will discuss it on Friday.

Current reading//


West With the Night by Beryl Markham
I knew nothing of Markham's life before beginning Circling the Sun. Now I must read her autobiography to find out what has been fictionalized. Hoping I can finish before our meeting Friday.

On the blog//
Review: Clouds in My Coffee by Julie Mulhern

In the kitchen//
It's good to be back in my home kitchen! It's HUGE compared to the one in Florida. I missed my gas burners, double ovens, and expansive counter space more than you can imagine. Someday we'll need to address this issue...

And Wegmans. I haven't seen produce (especially peppers) this gorgeous all winter - not even at the farmers market! I was not dissatisfied with Publix or our island stores, but they just aren't Wegmans. Nothing comes close.

Blog advice needed//
I've spent a lot of time thinking about the blog this week and I want a new template. But not one offered by blogger. I've found some simple, elegant templates on Etsy. Some shops offer installation, which I would definitely need. Do you have experience or recommendations with purchased templates?

I'm also considering eliminating the header photo in my new design. My profile picture would still be in the upper right corner and there will be lake or beach photos on my weekend posts... and possibly Wordless Wednesdays, too. Thoughts?

The week ahead//
Lots of outdoor work! Last week I got the house in order, this week I'll tackle the patio, lawn, and garden. Let's hope the weather cooperates. Also on the agenda is a trip to the vet for Zelda's annual physical and book club on Friday. I've missed my book club meetings! If we're in Florida again next winter, I'll join the library group for a few months.

How was your week? What did you read?


This post will link to It's Monday, What Are You Reading?  hosted by Kathryn at Book Date.

57 comments:

  1. I wish I could offer some knowledgable blog advice. I've scrambled around with my own little header and my blog template from Blogger for some time now. I like the readability of your black letters on white space, and your header is quite nice, too. But perhaps you want a change? I feel that every now and then and let my blog appearance evolve a little.

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    1. Deb - Yes, I think a little change is what I'm after now. Just deleted the header photo and changed the column widths so I can feature larger lake photos on the weekend posts. We'll see if that does it for mow ;-)

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  2. I'm in a little bit of slump, having only finished 2 books so far this month. However, one was so very good (The Storyteller) that I can't really complain.

    I haven't changed my blog for many years, so I have no advice to offer. Sorry! At first, I was disappointed when you said you would eliminate your lake header, but then I scrolled back up and realized I rarely ever pay attention to it anymore. I love the photos you share on your weekend posts, so I won't fret. :)

    Sorry you were a little down after your return home, but I suspect any move like that takes a little adjusting, especially when the weather is involved. It's been unseasonable cool here this past week, dipping down to the high 30s at night. I need to get out in my garden and cut back all the damaged leaves from our recent hail storm. Breaks my heart to see some of the plants and my poor azalea bush, which lost most of it's leaves! :(

    Hope you have a good week, JoAnn!

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    1. Les - It's strange... I think we had both been reading up a storm the last couple of months. The road trip home and the confusion when we got here definitely slowed me down, but things seem to be back to normal now.

      I did delete the header photo ( I wasn't especially pleased with the quality of it anyway) and also changed the column widths slightly. Now I can make the photos that I really like a little larger. That should satisfy me for now ;-)

      Yesterday it was in the 60s, but it got really cold overnight. We're a little higher in elevation and actually had snow in the air this morning!! Thankfully it didn't stick, but this is the latest snow I can remember. They say we should be back to the 70s by the end of the week.

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    2. SNOW???!!! I sure hope I don't see any of that. :)

      Like the new look. It's nice to have a wider space for larger photos.

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  3. I just got back from a week at the beach and am having to make the adjustment to real life too.

    I've never been to a Wegman's but everyone talks about them so much, I really want to.

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    1. Kathy - There's something about the beach, isn't there? Makes it hard to return to the real world. Wegmans is the best!!

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  4. I don't have any experience with blog templates except the ones offered on blogger, but I know that we'd love your blog however it looked! Wegmans is opening a store next year in a big mall about half an hour away (in an old JC Penney). I can't imagine shopping there given the traffic that mall has already....on the other hand, that mall now has condos, so one could just move in...

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    1. Audrey - LOL! That concept seems to be catching on in several parts of FL, but I haven't seen it in the northeast yet. Is that the first one in your area? I don't see myself ever living in a mall, but the idea of a Wegmans, plus restaurants and movie theaters in my "neighborhood" is very appealing!

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  5. Beryl Markham seems like such an interesting person. I would like to read her autobiography myself. I am looking forward to what your thoughts are on it.

    I struggle with the look of my blog also. I need to devout some time to it when time is not in short supply.

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    1. Brian Joseph - I knew next to nothing about Markham before reading Circling the Sun. Now I'm curious about which parts are fact and which are fiction. Hope to finish West With the Night quickly.

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  6. Because I don't like the commitment required of a purchased template, I have chosen Word Press. There are lots of themes, and you can even purchase some. I like changing things around a lot, so WP offers those possibilities.

    Not that I'm "selling" WP...just sharing my experiences. LOL

    Enjoy your settling in at home, and your reading. I can't wait to read my copy of Clouds in My Coffee.

    I still haven't decided whether or not to read Circling the Sun, but I do like the author.

    Thanks for visiting my blog.

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    1. Laurel-Rain Snow - Several years ago I set up a WP account and created a test blog, but it seemed so much more complicated than blogger. Perhaps it's time to revisit it.

      Circling the Sun was very good... even better than The Paris Wife in my opinion. I wasn't happy when my book club chose it, but it ended up surprising me. I do recommend it.

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  7. I bet it is hard to re-adjust after being away but glad you are enjoying getting back to things and of course signs of Spring! I love looking at pictures so if you have more of those to add to your blog then yay! Happy weekend.

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    1. Thanks, Iliana. I think I just needed a change, so Iplayed around with things a little this morning. No more header photo, but I can make other photos larger now. We'll see how this goes...

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  8. We don't live by Wegman's anymore and we miss it hugely!

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    1. Jill - I missed Wegmans almost as much as I missed my family! ;-)

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  9. I always feel down when I get back from vacation. The longer the vacation, the deeper the blues. So I perfectly get what you are feeling. Hopefully, it passes soon!

    I am curious to know what you decide about blog design. I have been considering changing the layout of my blog but maybe not just yet.

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    1. Athira - My blog design has become pretty much a blank slate at the moment, but I like the simple look. We'll see where it goes from here

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  10. Great May photo of the lake. I hope it warms up a little. Since starting my blog three years ago, I've alway been interested in the large variety of themes and blog looks. I've changed mine many times, probably way too many times. I think Laura @ Library of Clean Reads has an amazing new look that I think is a blogger design from http://www.oddthemes.com. I have a WP blog so didn't look into it too much.

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    1. Thanks, Pat! I will check them out. Had a feeling you might have a suggestion for me ;-)

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  11. Well, if you have to come back up north, you certainly have a great place to be! Can't wait to hear what you think of West With The Night.

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    1. Lisa - The beginning seems to pick up where Circling the Sun left off. It's good so far, but I haven't read much.

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  12. Let me know how the Markham autobio is! I got curious to read it after finishing Circling the Sun too. And I have Wordpress, so am unfortunately not much help on the template front. For my latest design, I used the Tweak Me template and hired a designer to customize it for me and design the look. She was great, but is unfortunately no longer designing blogs :(

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    1. Sarah - West With the Night is about her flying days in Africa so far. I'm wondering if there will be any overlap with Circling the Sun.

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  13. I am afraid to mess around with my blog design! Lovely Lake picture. Spring has had a bumpy ride, I hope this last cold spell is gone. Enjoy book club.

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    1. Nise' - I've always had a tough time with the technology end of blogging. We ended up with a little snow yesterday afternoon! Hopefully that will be it.

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  14. After a bit of a hiatus, I seem to be on track again. Still working my way through a William Maxwell book of short stories. Finished Outline by Rachel Cusk. Somewhat more intellectual and thought-provoking than I usually go for, but would recommend. As I recall, I've read a couple of her other books some time ago and liked. Lastly, I picked up on pamelaandedward's shoutout about The Most of Nora Ephron, so like Pamela, I'm laughing my way through that one as well. Nora Ephron was a gal with a lot of spunk, smart as a whip, and greatly missed. Hope that flaky white stuff is gone from your area soon. 😊

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    1. JudyMac - Do you ever listen to audiobooks? I LOVED Nora Ephron's I Feel Bad About My Neck on audio. She read it herself. Have a couple of her other in print which are also very good. She's definitely missed. Rachel Cusk is another author I've been meaning to read. Outline got some very good reviews.

      The snow disappeared quickly, but the cold and wind are lingering. Next winter I want to stay in FL until June ;-)

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    2. Never attracted to audiobooks, but imagine listening to NE would be fun. Listening to Eudora Welty read (I had the pleasure of that in person) was delightful as it is like having a conversation with an old friend. Her letters come across the same way. 😊

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    3. JudyMac - I thought that was the case. Anyway, listening to Ephron read her own work is almost more fun than reading it myself ;-)

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  15. I've debated on reading Circling the Sun because so many bloggers I follow raved about it. On the template front, I've had some good experience with a couple I purchased from Etsy a long time ago.

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    1. Kathy - I definitely recommend Circling the Sun. I liked it better than The Paris Wife. The audio version is especially good.

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  16. I will miss your seasonal lake photos that were part of your header but, I can understand the need to change.

    I've never seen a Wegman's in MA or RI.

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    1. Diane - I may go back to the seasonal headers. Right now it's mostly about needing a little change...

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  17. West in the Night looks interesting. Good luck on all your outdoors work, and enjoy reading this week.


    My It's Monday! What Are You Reading? post.

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    1. Majanka Verstraete - Thank you. I got a reprieve from any outdoor work today... it's just too cold and windy!

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  18. I love when reading a book causes so much curiosity about a character...that I want to know more. I did not love this book but I did that same thing with Lilac Girls and Swans Of New York!

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    1. Patty - I've still got Swans of New York on my list and have a feeling I'll be scrambling for some nonfiction after that one, too!

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  19. My blog layouts are pretty standard. I haven't changed them for years. They work for me. I hope you enjoy whatever you change yours to. Here is what I read last week. Happy reading!

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    1. Thanks, Kathy. I'm satisfied with this very simple layout for now. Have a great week!

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  20. I switched from Blogger to a self hosted WP blog and love it! Once you play around with it a bit it's really easy.

    I loved the photos in your header. I lived at the lake when growing up and it reminded me of so many good memories. I'll miss them.

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    1. Vicki - I have a WP test blog, but it all seems so complicated! Granted, I haven't played around with it for years... maybe it's time to give it another try. The headers probably won't disappear permanently. I wasn't happy with the quality of the photos... may put another up when I get one I love.

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  21. I am pleased to hear the warming temperatures, budding tress, blooming flowers, and a few glasses of wine have cheered you up - I can sympathise being down as I've had a rotten cold this week! I am hoping to cheer myself up with my new read Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett. I hope you enjoy the rest of May :-)

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    1. Jessicabookworm - We had a little setback in the warming temperatures department yesterday afternoon - it snowed!! Thankfully it didn't stick and we should start another warming trend within the next couple of days. Winters last too long around here! I hope you are feeling better soon. Terry Pratchett should help:)

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  22. I want to change my template, too but I am absolutely afraid to tackle it. So...good luck with that one! Our weather here is not conducive to anything outside. We have empty pots every where!

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    1. Patty - Not only do I have empty pots, a couple of them still have dead flowers from last year! I need to get busy.

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  23. I'm not even sure how purchased blog templates work with free sites. I have a free WP site. I just change the theme when I get bored and that doesn't happen too often. I see that you removed the header image for now. I will say this, I like how clean and simple your current blog template is. It's also easy for me to read which is a big plus.

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    1. Ti - I like the simplicity of this look, too... very easy on the eyes. We'll see how long it lasts.

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  24. Beautiful pic of the lake! For what it's worth I can totally understand the adjustment- after spending the winter in sunny FL I think it would be tough to readjust to "northern life" lol- especially when the weather is so variable. I always get a little sad when I come back from Florida.

    I've looked at other blog designs too, including some on Etsy but haven't pulled the trigger yet so I can't help much. :( I do like your lake header pic though- but I understand if you get rid of it, sometimes you just need a change. :) I'm hoping to start Clouds in my Coffee tonight.

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    1. Greg - There must be something about the sudden withdrawal of light and sunshine. My parents' neighbors just got home from a winter in FL and are having similar adjustment issues. Yesterday's snow didn't help much either. Can't wait to hear what you think about Clouds in My Coffee.

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  25. I purchased West in the Night while I was in Buffalo, at an interesting used/rare bookstore about a mile from my hotel and the lake.
    I've had troubles with my reading this month--too work-busy, with the need to work a great deal. (I got off easy in March because I was really ill and it took weeks to get over it--hence, all the wonderful books read in that month!)

    Anyway, I'm adding West in the Night to my Classics Club list. I'm interested to hear that you liked Circling the Sun.

    Have fun, and hopefully we'll get some warmer weather with not too many bugs. Actually our black flies are among the worst I remember.

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    1. Judith - Sorry to hear you've been ill. Next time you go to Buffalo, we should meet for coffee on your way home. My BIL was in the Adirondacks last weekend and said the same thing about the black flies. Good thinking to add West With the Night to the Classics Club list... I've been falling behind the last several months. Need to get back to the classics!

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  26. I can't think of much that wine by the lake can't fix! I love lakeside sitting - so peaceful and relaxing. :) I am glad you enjoyed your trip and that you are now making yourself comfy back at home.

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    1. Erin - So true!! I can't think of anything that won't fix ;-) Looking forward to a peaceful summer. Hope that becomes a reality.

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  27. I guess I'm not too good on templates, but I used to like your lake photo in the header. But I understand if you want changes. I wish I was better at web design myself. but I don't like messing with it too much. Good luck with finding one you like.

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    1. Susan - Thanks, I'm enjoying the simplicity of no header photo at the moment, but wouldn't be surprised if they make a return before too long.

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